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United Utilities - the FTSE 100 energy and water outfit - has reacted coolly to a weekend report that it is seeking a buyer for its B2B telco Your Communications. The Sunday Telegraph reports that Ernst & Young has been hired for the sale after United Utilities ruled out floating the company.

Instead, it seems that United Utilities is keen for a trade sale with analysts quoted by the paper claiming it could be worth £200m. Your Communications provides voice, data and mobile services and notched up revenues of £185m last year.

Responding to the report, United Utilities said it has never made any secret of the fact that Your Communications is not an "integral part of its core business" and "will look to exit the business at a point in time when shareholder value can be maximised".

In a statement the company said: "As a result, we, with our advisers, continue to look at the various strategic options for an exit. However, no formal disposal process is in train, and although Your Communications is a natural candidate for the further consolidation that we believe is eventually inevitable within the telecommunications industry, we are not aware of any such consolidation process at present."

As a result, it's business as usual as the company's focus "remains on growth and profitability for Your Communications".

Confirmation that United Utilities is happy to get rid of Your Communications is yet further evidence of the consolidation with the sector. Last week it emerged that Exeter-based ISP, Eclipse, could be about to become the latest operator to be swallowed up by the big boys amid reports that it is looking for a buyer.

In May, Cable & Wireless bought Bulldog for £18.6m, while in August, Pipex snapped up Nildram £12.9m. Last month also saw Telstra Europe Limited - a wholly-owned subsidiary of the giant Australian telco - acquiring the UK business of ISP PSINet Europe for £50m. ®

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